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  • He was part of America's fight for freedom and equality.

  • But were his enlightened principles outweighed

  • by participation in a greater injustice?

  • Find out on History versus Thomas Jefferson.

  • Order! Order! Hey, that's one of the guys from Mt. Rushmore.

  • Ahem. This is Thomas Jefferson,

  • founding father of the United States of America

  • and primary author of the Declaration of Independence.

  • The document that established the US as a democratic republic

  • on the principle that everyone is created equal.

  • If byeveryoneyou mean property-owning white men.

  • At the time Jefferson was writing,

  • one fifth of the colonies' population was enslaved.

  • Surely he couldn't be expected to single-handedly overturn

  • the institution of slavery?

  • Couldn't he have just written that into the Declaration?

  • It wasn't that simple, Your Honor.

  • Jefferson was one of five authors,

  • and the document had to be ratified by the Continental Congress.

  • He included a clause opposing the slave trade,

  • but state delegates removed it.

  • Nevertheless, Jefferson recognized slavery as an immoral institution

  • and condemned it throughout his life.

  • But Jefferson's words never came close to matching his actions!

  • As Virginia's governor, he did nothing to change the state slave laws.

  • And in his personal life, he held over 600 people in slavery.

  • Furthermore, he believed Black people were intellectual inferiors who,

  • if emancipated, should return to their countries of origin.

  • Frankly, there's no argument that Jefferson did anything significant

  • to combat slavery.

  • It's true, Your Honor.

  • But Jefferson did make important contributions

  • to religious, financial, and gender equality.

  • He led the charge for separating church and state,

  • removing government funding for Virginia's Anglican Church,

  • and paving the way for our modern understanding of religious freedom.

  • Jefferson also drafted laws that weakened the power of inherited wealth

  • and pushed for the state-funded education of boys and girls.

  • All valuable reforms, but you're avoiding the fundamental issue here.

  • None of this benefited enslaved people or Indigenous Americans,

  • and it's ridiculous to argue that Jefferson was pursuing equality

  • when his policies frequently harmed non-white groups.

  • Policies such as authorizing the military

  • to exterminate Indigenous communities during the Revolutionary War.

  • Objection! Those Northwestern tribes were allied with the British.

  • In peacetime, Jefferson did his best to avoid conflict with Native Americans

  • and believed they could be equal to whites.

  • Could be equal”? Listen to yourself!

  • Are you defending his attempts to forcibly assimilate Indigenous communities?

  • Jefferson's recommendations even formed the basis

  • for the Indian Removal Act years later.

  • Recommendations? Why not laws?

  • Thomas Jefferson served as a diplomat and Secretary of State

  • before being elected as Vice President under John Adams in 1796.

  • A role in which he undermined the President's authority.

  • Jefferson argued that states should have the power

  • to overrule federal laws they deemed unconstitutional

  • an argument some Southern states would cite while seceding

  • from the Union 70 years later.

  • I think it's a little unreasonable to lay the entire Civil War at Jefferson's feet.

  • Besides, his defense of states' rights was motivated

  • by the president's overreaching central government.

  • As part of Adams' preparations for war with France,

  • he signed legislation that tightened restrictions on immigrants

  • and limited criticism of the government.

  • Jefferson was just trying to protect the public.

  • And ultimately, his efforts were so popular that he was elected

  • as the next president.

  • A dubious victory.

  • He only won because states were allowed to count enslaved people

  • towards their population without giving them voting rights.

  • This system gave states that held people in slavery additional voting power

  • in the Electoral College until the Civil War.

  • Be that as it may, Jefferson was a popular president.

  • He worked to prevent the country from taking on too much debt,

  • and successfully led the US through the Napoleonic and the Barbary Wars.

  • Plus, he dramatically expanded the country's territory

  • through the Louisiana Purchase.

  • Where he once again failed to stop slavery from taking hold.

  • I'll remind you that President Jefferson signed a law

  • forbidding the importation of enslaved people in 1807.

  • And yet he continued to enslave those already on American soil

  • including his own flesh and blood.

  • Pardon?

  • Following his wife's death,

  • Jefferson began a relationship with her half-sister and maid, Sally Hemings.

  • Jefferson fathered six children with Hemings

  • and kept the entire relationship secret,

  • while continuing to publicly denounce the personhood of Black Americans.

  • Jefferson freed several members of the Hemings family,

  • including his children with Sally

  • While refusing to free anyone else.

  • Despite enslaving over 600 people, Jefferson only freed 10.

  • Five during his life and five in his will

  • all members of the Hemings family.

  • Even I have to admit, this seems indefensible.

  • It's true, Your Honor.

  • Despite pursuing what he believed to be equality,

  • Jefferson failed to uphold his own ideals.

  • Ultimately, he was a man of his time

  • living in an economy that relied on exploitation and enslaved labor.

  • That's hardly a defense when many of Jefferson's contemporaries

  • opposed slavery and took action to abolish it.

  • Even if some people considered him a great man in his time,

  • he doesn't have to be an icon in ours.

  • Well, I hear Mount Rushmore has a problematic past, too.

  • Can we judge historical figures by modern standards?

  • And what responsibilities do powerful people have to the future?

  • Answering these questions is all part of putting history on trial.

He was part of America's fight for freedom and equality.

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History vs. Thomas Jefferson - Frank Cogliano

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    shuting1215 に公開 2023 年 01 月 15 日
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